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The Visible Word

Jesus Christ is the only food that nourishes our souls. Therefore he calls us to submit ourselves, first to the proclamation of his Word and second to partake of him as he has offered himself to us in the sacrament of the Supper. Just as the Lord has given us his audible Word (the Word of Christ) to bring us to faith and salvation, in his mercy, he confirms to us his declarations with visible signs. First he speaks, then he acts. It is in the sacraments of bread and water, which Christ has blessed, the promises of God are declared to his people visible.

It follows, that what we say of the Word we say of the Supper. In our partaking of the Supper, God is pleased, by the Holy Spirit to bring us to commune with the risen Jesus who is at the right hand of the Father. Not that Christ comes down and dwells in the elements, or that they cease to be what they are, rather the Holy Spirit by faith lifts our hearts to truly partake of our Lord’s body. A spiritual moment occurs in Communion, just as the conversion and justification of our soul is a spiritual matter so it the partaking of the body of Christ. 

We must consider our frailty and weakness in light of God’s greatness in this matter. Because it is in the sacrament of the Supper where we are reminded that, left to our own, we are unable to approach God. We cannot ascend the hill of the Lord, he must come down and dwell with us. Without the grace of God working in our hearts and minds, we can not receive him as he is offered to us. Without the vivification of the Holy Spirit in our souls we could never trust in Jesus as he is proclaimed in the Word and offered in the Supper. So in the Supper, God condescends again to show his mercy to us. A visible sign given, to codify the promises of the Gospel. Thus we call the Supper the visible Gospel. Another blessing of God, given to help his people, who are in the midst of fighting doubt and skepticism. Let them taste and see that the Lord is good.

Yet in the Supper there is a mystery to us that is incomprehensible. It is one thing to affirm that we are partaking and communing with the risen Lord, who is at the right hand of the Father. It is another thing all together, to explain how it happens. We humbly and simply affirm that it happens, by the Holy Spirit through faith. We partake, without full comprehension but in faith, of the body and blood of Jesus as given to us. The Supper is given to us for our good and to bless us, therefore we should submit to the regular partaking of it in obedience and receive the promised blessing of God in Jesus again.

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